The Combined Harare Residents Association (CHRA) has condemned what it terms machinations to replace a democratically elected council by an appointed commission under the pretext of uprooting corruption in Council.
The Harare City Council has come under siege following the arresting of Mayor Cllr Gomba and 14 other employees in a housing scandal involving stands worth US$1 million.
This has led to rumours and subtle calls by some sectors to have government install a Commission to run the capital city.
However the CHRA has come out against the move.
“CHRA condemns all forms of corruption and graft and welcomes efforts by the state to fight corruption in our local authorities but that does not warrant imposing a commission as this is a serious threat to representative democracy, a move that is aimed at throwing citizens to the periphery of local governance.
“Any attempt to the abuse of Section 80 (1)(a) and (b) of the Urban Councils Ac 29:15 by the Minister of Local Government through imposing a Commission to run the City of Harare is misplaced and has no place in any democratic society”.
The residents organisation said ” local government is the closest government to the people, the idea and thinking of replacing an elected council that is accountable to the people by an appointed commission has serious implications on accountability”.
Other previously appointed Commissions have not improved service delivery but have been catalysts of stripping the City of Harare’s assets, fuelling grand corruption and led to total collapse of service delivery to the extent of losing lives.
According to CHRA the Chanakira Commission (1999-2001) clandestinely recruited 1235 employees and promoted people who were connected to it.
“Makwavarara Commission (2004-2006) facilitated the ZINWA takeover of Harare Municipal Water Supply that saw total collapse of water supplies and sewer reticulation and thousands of people died of cholera during her era.
“(It) recommended the devastating Operation Murambasvina and Ms Makwavarara used ratepayers’ money for her luxuries at the expense of service delivery and illegally bought a council house in Borrowdale for a paltry $780 million instead of $5,5 billion (Zimbabwe Dollars)”.
The Michael Mahachi Commission (2006-2007) is also accused of losing vast tracts of Council land in a US $90 million botched Airport Road deal with Augur Investments and Sewer reticulation plants collapsed.